CRUISING FOR A BRUISING

A ONE-TIME SEX COLUMN  

BY WANDA VRASTI

I’ve recently become single and emotionally unhinged from my ex after a long period during which I couldn’t even imagine being attracted to anyone other than him – which used to be a problem in our relationship. So since that’s over now, I feel thrilled to get back in touch with myself, where we left off years ago, although, even then I didn’t know too well what to do with myself sexually. I guess, I’ve always had a complicated relationship with performingfelinity femininity, the straight game and navigating desire, in general. Who hasn’t? (These days I enjoy seeing how many of my girlfriends describe their sexual orientation and orientation to sex as “confused”.) Also since the breakup I’ve been more proactive about trying to sleep or at least have physical contact with women because it makes me feel more at ease with this unsettlement, which could be called bisexuality, gender queer or something else. But I still don’t want to give up on men, particularly straight men. My personal favorites are, of course, Gay Men Who Fuck Women. These are not actual gay men, but rather ambidextrous men who may come across as gay because of the way they negotiate power, friendship and sex, but do not consider the female form an “anatomy of hell,” as Catherine Breillat named that distinct revulsion. On this front, Men Men lag far behind, “a retrograde reproductive style,” were Beatriz Preciado’s words. First of all, many straight men don’t really care who they’re fucking as long as she’s half decent looking and willing because for them sex is like punching a card: if I don’t score now, who knows when I’ll get the chance again! This leads to the unfortunate situation where people who don’t really like each other sleep together… I’m speaking mostly about one-night stands and, my new favorite, dark rooms. There are no dark rooms for straight people (I just use the gay ones) and there’s always been this great dilemma about why straight people can’t get it together and have their own. Well, let’s investigate. In my experience, it’s because men who encounter sexually relaxed, open-minded women still feel the need to control the situation. They like getting lucky, of course, might even think they hit the jackpot for the moment, but shortly after sex all bets are off: unable to form a basic conversation, afraid you might want to hang on to them, cutting them off from the rest of the female population, they might even pretend they don’t know you! You’re only interesting as long as there’s a possibility of a hook up, but once that’s consummated, your interest as a person quickly evaporates. Men Men, especially in these casual sex settings I’m referring to, have a hard time associating with women beyond wanting to close a deal. It’s always as if the prey would get away and they must do everything in their powers to prevent that: buy her drinks, pay her excessive compliments, indulge in the most hapless clichés. We call this being a “player,” but that usually implies that only one person can play, while the other is played on. Meanwhile, you (the woman) are already open to sex but might also appreciate a chat or a joke somewhere in between. Gay culture, if we really strive for that type of seemingly effortless promiscuity, shares a sense of camaraderie and solidarity the straight world simply lacks. This, of course, is shaped by a history of facing hardships together, including the hardships flowing from promiscuity. But it’s not like the heterosexual encounter has been hardship-free! One of these has been the straight game itself, the game that makes women feel so bored and so trapped and men so exhausted and so retrograde. The game is rigged. It is the dress rehearsal for a patriarcho-capitalist-reproductive drama without the actual desire to reproduce. It’s like working when you’re on vacation or, even worse, when you’re on strike. So why are men so afraid of treating women like equals, like fellow travellers, not competitors on an opposite team they only parrot the stereotypes of? Gays have asserted that equality from the very beginning… by fucking only within their own bio-demographic. It’s equality, but only for half the population. Well, as an ambidextrous woman, I would like to have gay (queer-light-hearted-horizontal) sexuality for everyone! And, for this, I think it’s essential that, when we hook up with people in casual settings with little history or promises, we still uphold basic conventions of courtesy and amiability. That can’t be so much to ask. Besides, if we don’t look out for each other, who will?

Artwork © Catherine Williams

Malise RosbechComment